It’s hard to believe that just a few weeks ago I was enveloped in darkness and could not see a way out. My mother in law said earlier that she presumed I had been taking the antidepressants because I have seemed so much happier and brighter. The truth is, I stopped taking them before they had a chance to work.
Before I go on, I feel I should say here that I do not advise anyone to go against the advice of their GP. You should discuss your medication with the medical professionals and trust them to get it right. I know I sound like a hypocrite, but I had my reasons and I am ‘lucky’ in that having suffered with depression on and off over the years, I know myself pretty well. I also know that if I’ve got this wrong and I start to feel one iota of how I was feeling, I will accept I got it wrong and get right back on the track my GP had planned for me.
You see, three weeks ago I crashed. Hit rock bottom. Broke down. However you want to describe it, I was a mess by the time I dragged myself to my doctor. One of the most debilitating issues I was dealing with was an absolute obsession with death. The lack of control I felt over my life had taken a life of its own and made me think about how little control we have over our own mortality and that of those we love. I hadn’t felt any movement from my baby, and began to worry that was a bad sign.
The day I told my children about the baby, I searched the Internet for an image I could show them. I made a huge mistake and searched “15 week fetus”. Why did I choose those words? Up to then I’d always used “fetal development” or “baby” in the search. Yes, you’ve guessed it. The search engine returned a number of images of lifeless bodies clearly lost during varying stages of pregnancy. Luckily my kids didn’t see it. But those images will never leave me, and from that point I became overwhelmed with fear that my baby was dead. I was walking around with a dead body inside me. And when I wasn’t worrying about that, I worried that I would die, I would give birth to a dead baby, my baby would be healthy but I’d lose one of my other children. Me and the kids would be fine, but my husband would die. Nuts right?! Looking back it’s easy, but at the time I felt like there was no point in looking forward to anything. What was the point in taking any joy from my life if it was going to end badly one way or another?
Every expectant mother has similar fears. Maybe not on that scale, but I would bet every mum-to-be will worry about the health of their baby at the very least. That is perfectly natural. But when those thoughts start to spiral, devour every other thought you may have, and change the way you may normally act or feel, then you know it’s far from natural. I saw everything as a sign that my worst fears would be realised. Every sad post on social media sites. Every news story. Every picture of a disabled child. Every bloody solo magpie! I took to the sofa, and I decided there was little point in going anywhere else. And that’s when I realised I needed help.
When I started this blog, I decided that one of the most important features of my updates would be candid discussion of my innermost thoughts and feelings. It is important to me that I feel I can share my craziest thoughts and my most miserable moments without fear or shame. And that’s why I shared this with you today.
More importantly – I feel different now. Just 3 weeks later and those feelings have passed. Yes I’m still apprehensive about the anomaly scan next week, but only in a normal way.
Whilst I completely trusted my GP and believe the risks of taking antidepressants to be lower than drinking alcohol in pregnancy, the fear of the potential impact on the baby from taking the pills only added to my crippling fear that my baby would not be healthy. I was able to logically think things through and decided that the pills were causing me more anxiety than I already had and it was better to stop. But, they are still in my bedside drawer. And I have told my husband, so that he can make sure that if I start to crash again, he is there to make sure I get myself back on the path my GP planned.
I fear I’ve made this sound too easy. Please know that if you are in the same position and have had these feelings; you are not alone. Find someone you can talk to about it, professional or otherwise. If you have a pregnant friend, sister, wife, and you see them unhappy, don’t always brush it away as ‘hormones’. Be there. Listen. And help them to get help.